The law to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will remain as stringent as ever. The Prevention of Atrocities against SCs/STs amendment bill not only restores its provisions but also make them stricter. Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot while responding to the discussion on the bill said that though the government had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court but to avoid any delay in justice the law is being strengthened through the legislative route.
The restoration of the provisions of the bill will mean that
— No preliminary inquiry will be required before registering an FIR against anyone
— The investigating officer will not require the approval of any authority for the arrest of an accused
— Persons accused of committing an offence under the Act cannot apply for anticipatory bail
— The Bill clarifies that this provision will apply despite any judgements or orders of a court that provide otherwise
Discussion over the bill saw political parties of all hues backing its passage while making certain suggestions to the govt.
SC/ST BILL GETS WIDE SUPPORT
The Supreme Court had passed its orders over purported misuse of provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities against SCs/STs Act in March this year. This had led to several dalit groups demanding that the government restore the bill to its original form prompting the government to bring the bill to Parliament.
One of the major changes made through the amendments is that the bill as passed in the Lok Sabha covers a total of 47 different offences. The previous bill only had 22 offences in its ambit.